Thomas Sibbald, a student at Heriot’s Hospital, entered into an apprenticeship with William Maben. In accordance with the school’s regulations, the indenture provided that the master would feed, clothe, and board the apprentice. However, in a separate agreement, Sibbald’s father agreed to relieve Maben of these obligations. Sibbald initially lived with his father and commuted to Maben’s shop near Edinburgh, but Maben later closed his shop and moved to Dunse, in another county. In consultation with an official at Heriot’s Hospital, Sibbald’s father notified Maben that he considered the apprenticeship to be at an end. Maben sued for damages, on the ground that Sibbald had deserted his apprenticeship.